The upshot of all of this — the charges of fraud, the refusal to acknowledge the president’s defeat — is a party prepared to do even more than it already has to restrict voting. “This election has shown we need major reforms to our election systems, including voter ID laws across the nation, to protect against fraud and rebuild the American people’s trust in fair outcomes,” Senator Rick Scott of Florida said in a statement touting a federal bill that would introduce a strict ID requirement in addition to making it more difficult to get a mail-in ballot. Representative Dan Crenshaw of Texas has similarly called for new ID requirements and a crackdown on mail-in voting. And Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky told his Twitter followers to “look at the evidence” of fraud “and decide for yourself” while he shared a conspiratorial blog post on “anomalies in vote counts.”

The results of the election clearly show that Republicans can compete in high-turnout conditions as much as they can when there are fewer people voting. But they have persuaded themselves that voters are the obstacle and that a smaller electorate is their best path back to power. Or, as Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said just after the election, “If Republicans don’t challenge and change the U.S. election system, there will never be another Republican president elected again.”

The obvious question is why are they doing all this.